The Killers: Pressure Machine [Album Review]

The Killers Pressure MachineIsland Records [2021] Well-paired back-to-back songs are a constant feature of The Killers’ discography. On their 2004 debut Hot Fuss, the songs “Mr. Brightside” and “Smile Like You Mean It” are united by a very specific bitterness. On Sam’s Town, the urgency of “When You Were Young” tees up the desperation and … Read more

Orville Peck: Pony [Album Review]

Orville Peck Pony Sub Pop Records [2019] Fire Note Says: Orville Peck is the Great North American queer cowboy wonder. Album Review: Saddle up partner, because we’re going on a wild ride with one of the biggest breakout stars of 2019: Orville Peck, a gay Canadian country singer who hides his face behind a be-fringed … Read more

The National: I Am Easy To Find [Album Review]

The National I Am Easy To Find 4AD [2019] Fire Note Says: If I Am Easy to Find was a debut record, it’d be the best of the year. Album Review: There is a timeline in which, after the release of their breakthrough 2014 record Trouble Will Find Me, The National grew content, decided to … Read more

Keuning: Prismism [Album Review]

Keuning Prismism Pretty Faithful [2019] Fire Note Says: The debut solo record from The Killers’ lead guitarist Dave Keuning is an earnest and fun ‘80s-inspired pop-rock success. Album Review: While promoting Prismism, his surprisingly sweet solo debut, The Killers’ guitarist Dave Keuning lamented of his songs, “I had shown them to the Killers, but they … Read more

Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow [Album Review]

Sharon Van Etten Remind Me Tomorrow Jagjaguwar [2019] Fire Note Says: Remind Me Tomorrow isn’t a total reinvention of the wheel, but it’s a welcome evolution that finds Sharon Van Etten at the top of her game. Album Review: Ever wondered what it would sound like if Arcade Fire and The National teamed up? No? … Read more

Mercy Union: The Quarry [Album Review]

Mercy Union The Quarry Self-Released [2018] Fire Note Says: How “super” does a supergroup need to be? Album Review: Mercy Union – the joint effort of Jared Hart from The Scandals and Benny Horowitz of The Gaslight Anthem, plus Rocky Catanese and Nick Jorgensen – is a New Jersey punk rock dream collaboration. But unless … Read more

Richard Edwards: Verdugo [Album Review]

Richard Edwards Verdugo Profound Discomfort [2018] Fire Note Says: Verdugo is a dreamy, free-floating work of moody melodies and emotional release. Album Review: The twelfth song on Richard Edwards’ towering 2017 release Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset is called “Pornographic Teens.” It’s a tune that moves along nicely and showcases Edwards at his moody best, combining … Read more

Brian Fallon: Sleepwalkers [Album Review]

Brian Fallon Sleepwalkers Island Records [2018] Fire Note Says: A surprisingly joyful outing, Sleepwalkers makes clear that while Brian Fallon is certainly interested in evolving, it’s not likely that he ever really will. Album Review: Brian Fallon occupies a singular place in today’s rock and roll landscape. Like fellow folk-rock travelers Dave Hause and Chuck … Read more

Lorde: Melodrama [Album Review]

Lorde Melodrama Lava Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Lorde resists contemporary pop conventions and dusts off 80’s vinyl influences to craft one of the strongest and most original pop records of the year. Album Review: Four years ago, the meteoric rise of New Zealand’s Lorde was fueled by the strength of “Royals,” a single that … Read more

Future Islands: The Far Field [Album Review]

Future Islands The Far Field 4AD [2017] Fire Note Says: Somber and spare, The Far Field marks a surprising change in tone for Future Islands. Album Review: Mainstream audiences were first introduced to Future Islands frontman Sean Herring, in all his demon-voiced, swivel-hipped glory, when Future Islands’ played the poppy, charismatic “Seasons (Waiting on You)” … Read more

The Menzingers: After The Party [Album Review]

The Menzingers After The Party Epitaph Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Bursting with big guitars, sweeping storytelling and endlessly catchy melodies, After the Party is a bold realization that finds The Menzingers’ raising the bar yet again. Album Review: From the crunchy guitars and lightning-fast drums of their debut record A Lesson in the Abuse … Read more

The Killers: Wonderful Wonderful [Album Review]

The Killers Wonderful Wonderful Island Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Epitomizing the band behind it, Wonderful Wonderful is grandiose, towering and bound to polarize. Album Review: In a lot of ways, The Killers are the Hillary Clinton of radio rock. Just…hear me out on this. Both have enjoyed wild swings in relevance and popularity during … Read more

The Blow: Brand New Abyss [Album Review]

The Blow Brand New Abyss Self-Released [2017] Fire Note Says: On Brand New Abyss, The Blow submerges listeners in an accessible and confessional sea of synths, secrets and electro vibes. Album Review: When people think of electronic music, they typically don’t think of warm, soft synths, frank monologues and sparse arrangements. But with Brand New … Read more

Queen Moo: Mean Well [Album Review]

Queen Moo Mean Well Topshelf Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Mean Well is one of the biggest, baddest rock ‘n’ roll records so far this year. Album Review: Clocking in at just under thirty minutes, Mean Well, the second full-length release from Connecticut band Queen Moo, reinvents rock ‘n’ roll in ways you didn’t know … Read more

Brand New: Science Fiction [Album Review]

Brand New Science Fiction Procrastinate! Music Traitors [2017] Fire Note Says: Out of nowhere, Brand New returns with a moody, somber final record that will satisfy longtime fans and initiate legions of new ones. Album Review: For fans of the cagey Long Island emo band Brand New, the past eight years have been a painful … Read more

En Route: Then Is A Song [Album Review]

En Route Then Is A Song Flower Girl Records [2017] Who: En Route is a collective of some of Philadelphia’s most accomplished underground punk musicians. Sound: In five drifting, heavy and quietly groundbreaking songs, En Route makes clear their intention to lead the slowcore revival. TFN Final Take: En Route’s first EP “then is a … Read more

Charly Bliss: Guppy [Album Review]

Charly Bliss Guppy Barsuk Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Charly Bliss’s debut LP Guppy finds the Brooklyn-based punks turning rock conventions on their heads and sewing together sugary-sweet grunge-pop rippers–and having a ton of fun doing it. Album Review: The grunge revival has long been underway, but until now, the Speedy Ortizes, Courtney Barnetts and … Read more

Emperor X: Oversleepers International [Album Review]

Emperor X Oversleepers International Tiny Engines [2017] Fire Note Says: Offering an up-tempo lyrical tour of politics and contemporary despair, Oversleepers International will bewilder listeners and keep them on their toes with genre-bending arrangements. Album Review: If Conor Oberst had a knack for pop and dropped out of a Political Science PhD. program, he might’ve … Read more

The Killers: “The Man” [Single Review]

The Killers “The Man” Island Records [2017] The Killers are back. And if anybody thought that they would be dialing it back, they’ve got a post-Eighties disco-funk wall of sound to reckon with. The Las Vegas pop rock vets yesterday released the lead single from “Wonderful Wonderful,” their first full length LP since 2012’s “Battle … Read more

The Smith Street Band: More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me [Album Review]

The Smith Street Band More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me SideOneDummy Records [2017] Fire Note Says: More Scared of You Than You are of Me is a fast and, ironically, fearless record that excels when its makers refuse to hold back. Album Review: Some bands are at their best when they’re at … Read more

Sean Rowe: New Lore [Album Review]

Sean Rowe New Lore ANTI- [2017] Fire Note Says: Combining ingredients as limited and plain as vocals, piano, strings and silence, Sean Rowe’s New Lore is an endearing and memorable alt folk achievement. Album Review: If not for Sean Rowe’s voice, the most effective, emotionally-loaded moments of his new record New Lore would the record’s … Read more

Sorority Noise: You’re Not As_____As You Think [Album Review]

Sorority Noise You’re Not As_____As You Think Triple Crown Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Ever-evolving emo rockers Sorority Noise fully come into their own on their third full length, deftly blending anguish, wisdom and their trademark massive guitars to produce a mature, extremely well-balanced record. Album Review: Sorority Noise is a complicated band. For every … Read more